Apr 16, 2018
NEWCASTLE: Monday, April 16, 2018: VETERAN stayer Doukhan will be given the chance for a Sydney Cup “consolation” with a forthcoming interstate mission.
The nine-year-old’s stout-finishing seventh at $101 to another veteran, Who Shot The Barman, in last Saturday’s $2m Group 1 Sydney Cup (3200m) at Royal Randwick convinced Kris Lees to plan a Melbourne target.
“At some stage, he will go down for the Andrew Ramsden Stakes at Flemington on May 5,” Lees said this afternoon.
“It is run over the same distance as the Sydney Cup and won’t be as strong as last Saturday’s race.
“He ran really well in the Cup. In fact his last two runs at Randwick during The Championships have been good.”
Doukhan ran fifth to Kiwi stayer Sir Charles Road in the Group 2 Chairman’s Quality (2600m) a week prior to the Cup.
Though a rising 10-year-old, Doukhan has raced only 24 times for six wins; injuries having curtailed the former French gelding’s career.
Lees has won three races with him in Sydney over middle distances and is keen to give him his chance to clinch a feature 3200m success in the Andrew Ramsden (previously known as the Duke of Norfolk Stakes).
Stablemate Graff, an impressive debut winner at Rosehill Gardens on April 2, is heading to the Hawkesbury stand alone meeting on Saturday week.
His target is the $125,000 Clarendon Stakes (1300m) for two-year-olds.
Lees sent the Star Witness youngster to Randwick this morning and, with Kerrin McEvoy aboard, he swept along the inside from well back on the turn to win a 2YO Open Trial (1040m).
Group 1 stablemates Le Romain and Clearly Innocent will represent the stable in Saturday’s $600,000 Group 1 wfa All Aged Stakes (1400m).
Glyn Schofield will partner triple Group 1 winner Le Romain and Jason Collett rides Clearly Innocent, who clinched a breakthrough at racing’s elite level at Eagle Farm last May during the Brisbane winter carnival.
Singing will join the pair at Randwick, lining up in the Group 3 JRA Plate (2000m).
Lees won his second Provincial Championships Final at Randwick last Saturday (the first was with Danish Twist in 2016), and is looking at the Hawkesbury and Scone carnivals with last Saturday’s winner Serene Miss ($6).
“I’m just not sure at this stage where we will head with her,” he said. “She is putting together a terrific record.
“Similarly, I’m undecided whether to keep going with Just Dreaming (forced to race wide when sixth as $4.80 favourite in the Provincial Final) or give her a short break and take her to Brisbane.”
Both Serene Miss, who has won six of her seven starts, and Just Dreaming are raced by Queensland couple Ron and Judi Wanless, who have been tremendous supporters of Lees Racing.
Whereas Doukhan is pressing ahead, Lees’ other Sydney Cup runner Admiral Jello (11th) has ended his current campaign.
Sugar Bella, an uncharacteristic 13th as $4.40 favoritein last Saturday’s Group 2 Sapphire Stakes (1200m) at Randwick, is having a break.
“She felt the hard ground and won’t race again for the time being,” Lees said.
Guard of Honour, narrowly beaten at the metropolitan meeting at the Sunshine Coast last Saturday, won’t remain in Queensland, but may return north for another assignment in a couple of weeks.